Barbecue Pimento Cheese

This barbecue pimento cheese may just be the best thing that could happen to you today. One taste of this slightly spicy take on a classic Southern spread with a cult following and you’ll understand.

A white bowl filled with pimento cheese and some saltine crackers topped with the cheese next to the bowl

This easy barbecue pimento cheese recipe is going to take you places—both literally and figuratively. Literally as in you’re going to be invited to all manner of backyard barbecues once word gets out that you know how to make this Cheddar cheese ball. Figuratively as in you’re going to want to explore the creative reaches of your mind to come up with things to dip into or slather with this cheese spread.–Renee Schettler

How do I serve barbecue pimento cheese?

We’ve served this with all manner of things besides crackers and celery and, for the record, we haven’t experienced anything that we didn’t like. With crackers or flatbread. In grilled cheese. On burgers. With potato chips and pretzels. Use your imagination.

Barbecue Pimento Cheese

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Serves 24 | Makes 3 cups
5/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook cookbook

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In a small bowl, stir all the spices together.

Grate the cheeses into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the scallions, if using, and toss again. (We found clean, dry hands to be a perfectly good tool for doing this.)

Dump the mayonnaise into a small bowl and stir in 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons spice mixture until completely incorporated.

Tester tip: You’ll have a teensy amount of spice mixture left over, which you can keep at room temperature for up to a couple months. Sprinkle it on chicken breasts, hamburgers, pork chops, shrimp, steak, or just about anything else you’re going to toss on the grill.

Stir the spiced mayo into the cheese mixture until everything is well blended. You want the cheese to be completely coated with the spiced mayo. Stir in the pimentos. Cover and refrigerate the pimento cheese for at least 2 hours and up to several days to let the flavors meld. (The longer you let the flavors meld, the more mellow the spices and the more pervasive the smokiness. You may want to let the barbecue pimento cheese at room temperature for 30 minutes or so to take the edge off the chill before serving.) 

For serving inspiration, well, just use it as a dip or spread for anything. Originally published January 27, 2015.

Print RecipeBuy the Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Being from the North, I never experienced pimento cheese on an appetizer tray or even thought about it. However, after moving South, I see it everywhere. Not having a point of reference, my tasters thought this barbecue pimento cheese recipe was quite good and addicting. I noticed some pimento cheese recipes contain cream cheese, which would make it creamier, although we didn't miss it in this recipe.

The barbecue pimento cheese does need to sit and "mature" for several hours, as there was a difference in taste between when I first made it and several days later. I thought the barbecue flavor was a little overwhelming when I first made the recipe, but it has since mellowed. It took about 15 minutes to mix together the recipe. I put it at the back of the fridge so people would really have to work at moving things to get to it. Now we can enjoy it longer—or make it again!

My guests were very happy with this barbecue pimento cheese. I served it as an hors d'oeuvre with a simple assortment of crackers. I couldn't find orange smoked Cheddar cheese but the applewood smoked Cheddar I used was perfect, and I'm sure it provided the same degree of smokiness as a naturally smoked orange Cheddar.

I halved the recipe, and the yield was about 1 1/2 cups. I like the fact that the recipe uses scallions instead of onion since the onion in my other pimento cheese recipes tends to make the dish a bit watery. The recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare and then at least 2 hours in the fridge for the flavors to come together nicely. There will be a bit of the spice blend left over. Since the ingredients were so similar, I simply added it to my container of homemade spice blend that I use on barbecued ribs and chicken. I couldn't tell how long the cheese would keep in the refrigerator since my tasters finished the entire dish in one sitting!


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  1. 5 stars
    This was very good. Since discovering PC in Dallas years ago I’ve become somewhat obsessed. I have Pere’s book and this recipe is the one I’ve enjoyed the most (so far).

  2. Wondering what the preferred grate is for pimento cheese (I’m from the north don’t know Duke’s!). I figure not the rasp side of grater but is the regular sized hole used or the tinier hole suggested? Might as well be pointed in the right direction from the experts! Thank you.

    1. Hi Denise, I always use the larger size for my pimento cheese and, of course, use Duke’s. You can get it on Amazon if you are so inclined. If you want to try a different version of pimento cheese, I highly recommend this one as well.

  3. In my opinion, sorry, just adding pimentos to real cheese does not qualify the name. While a very good recipe, you could also call it cayenne cheese, or onion powder cheese, or black pepper cheese. True pimento cheese is a title that belongs to vegetarian/vegan varieties.

  4. I made this for a party recently, and to say it was an enormous hit is an understatement. No fewer than 15 people asked for the recipe, and when there was no more cheese ball, one of my guests rolled up every single one of the leaves resting underneath (radiccio, cabbage, etc.), and ate those too.

    1. We looooooooove to hear stories like that, Val! Although this one made us literally laugh out loud. Many, many kind thanks for letting us know and for sharing the recipe! Looking forward to hearing which recipe from the site you try next…

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